When I first heard Bullet For My Valentine as a kid in 2005 with their debut album ‘The Poison’, I was blown away. That album has stayed as one of my favourite metalcore albums, if not albums I have ever listened to. Then they released the album ‘Scream, Aim, Fire’, another sensational , just great metal album. These two albums had made Bullet For My Valentine my favourite metalcore band for years. Unfortunately, with the newer releases ‘Fever’ and ‘Temper Temper’, I feel that the band has declined both in songwriting and conviction. The music just does not seem to have the same appeal, sheer power and heaviness that they became renowned for. With ‘Venom’ being recently released, the question stands will the Welsh rockers fly back to the top of the metalcore genre, or will they continue to decline with the trend of prior releases?
Venom is a very strange album. It has all the components to be a good metal album, it has the dueling guitars, pounding breakdowns and choruses built for mosh pits, wall of deaths and metal-heads to scream their lungs out. However, this album just does not have the assurance, or the strength which we came to know and love during the Poison/Scream, Aim, Fire era.
Whilst the music is sometimes (rarely) powerful in this album, the rage, anger and lyrical bite sounds extremely forced. Matt Tuck’s deliverance of the lyrics are just not as convincing as it once was. The lyrical content of this album is weak, a huge contrast to the superb lyrics which were once extremely relatable in the days of teenage angst (songs like Tears Don’t Fall, Waking the Demon and All These Things I Hate ‘Revolve Around Me’ are clear examples of the sheer brilliance they used to possess). This album is filled with plenty of cheesy cliches within the lyrics, “You’re only alive when you torture the weak, Now hear me roar“, screams Matt Tuck on ‘You Want A Battle? (Here’s A War)’) . This is a huge step backwards lyrically from the visceral cutting edge they used to have.
Do not be misled, this album does have a few good songs. There were a few moments of nostalgia which were good: meaty, aggressive tracks like ‘No Way Out’ and ‘Broken’ provide the only convincing power on this album using huge riffs, fist-pumping breakdowns and furious pace.
The problem is, Bullet For My Valentine seem to be searching for the sound of a band that they once were years ago, but they cannot provide the conviction. They seem to be struggling to fit into the same jeans they did a decade ago when they were at the top of the metalcore genre.
Musically there are some songs on this album which do roll back the years, but the cliche lyrics, lack of power and reliance on ideas used in their weaker releases have caused this album to be a very poor listen. Their last two albums have drawn a negative response from the metal community, and they are sliding down festival bills with venues getting smaller rapidly. As a Bullet For My Valentine fan, I hope that they can get out of this downward spiral, and their next release can be a refreshing breakthrough to repair their reputation, and secure the place they once had at the top of the metalcore scene.
4/10 – Disappointing and perhaps the nail in the coffin for this once pioneering group.